Posts Tagged ‘Wembley’

Football at the Olympics: Who Cares?

Last Saturday, I found myself at Wembley Stadium watching a highly entertaining game between Mexico and Senegal. Despite it being a six goal thriller and an almost full Wembley, I couldn’t help but ask myself  “Does the Olympics really care about football?”. Over 81,000 spectators at the match would suggest that people do care but then again a lot of people I talked to (Some of them football fans) didn’t even realise that football was in fact an Olympic sport.

Olympic football made its first appearance in 1900 at the games in Paris, a total of 30 years before the World Cup (Although international sides didn’t really make an appearance until 1908) . It has appeared in every Olympics since, apart from the 1932 Los Angeles games where it was dropped to try and promote American Football.

It seems to me that a vast majority of non-football fans almost look down on Football in the Olympics and feel that it should be done away with due to the fact that it features professional footballers who “make millions a year”. The same could be said for Tennis, Basketball and eventually Golf which will feature at the next Olympics. In my opinion that is no reason to want to get rid of the sport which has been in the Olympics for so long.

Then again the hardcore football fan doesn’t seem to care too much for Olympic football either, seeing it as more an inconvenience than anything as they eagerly await the new football season to start. It seems to me that they would rather see their player take part in pre-season with his club than try to get an Olympic medal for his country.

From my experience the people going to the games weren’t the usual crowd who would be attending football matches across Britain. It was definitely a more relaxed family atmosphere and I have to admit it felt strange at first but soon enough I started to really enjoy myself as a neutral. Something I don’t get the pleasure of doing too often but it’s not something I want to get used to either.

A talented Brazilian side.

One country that is really going for gold this Summer is Brazil, who arguably have one of the most talented and star-studded squads. With the likes of Neymar, Pato, Hulk, Thiago Silva and Marcelo in the team it was hard to bet against them. The Brazilians have never won gold at the Olympics and it has now almost became an obsession for them, especially since their rivals Argentina are the current holders. One country that definitely cares about Olympic football.

They will face Mexico in the final on Saturday, a side who has fewer stars than Brazil but is packed with young talented footballers.

Being Irish I obviously couldn’t get emotionally attached to any team at this Summers Olympics but I enjoyed the football on display nonetheless. For me, it is a chance to see the next group of players coming through the ranks for each country and potentially witness a star being born on the world stage.

Leave your opinions in the comments below.

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The FA Cup Final 2012

Chelsea will take on Liverpool in the FA cup final on Saturday which has been much anticipated and will almost defiantly be a truly memorable final. Both teams will do anything to ensure victory with Liverpool trying to complete a domestic cup double and Chelsea are looking to complete the first part of a domestic and European double.

Both teams are having quite forgettable league campaigns, with Liverpool in 8th place and in trouble of finishing below city rivals Everton. Chelsea are also having a forgettable season and are four points behind both Tottenham and Newcastle in the race for fourth, but that will matter little if they over come Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on May the 19th.

Drogba celebrates his stunning strike against Tottenham in the semi-final

Chelsea started their route to the final, with a 4-0 win over Portsmouth and overcame London rivals QPR in a 1-0 win at Loftus road. The Pensioners then faced Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge and the Championship side held Chelsea to a one all draw, but Chelsea took care of business at St Andrews in a convincing 2-0 win. Roberto Di Matteo’s men then faced Leicester City in the Quarter Finals and early goals from Kalou and Gary Cahill ensured victory early on before Chelsea went on to win the tie 5-2. Gary Cahill dedicated his goal to former team-mate Fabrice Muamba that had suffered from a Cardiac Arrest days before hand.

The only team to stand in the way of Chelsea and the FA cup final was London rivals Tottenham Hotspurs. After a tight first 43 minutes it took a magnificent Didier Drogba strike to separate the sides before the break, Chelsea’s second goal was far from spectacular so unspectacular it didn’t cross the line, Tottenham pulled one back before Chelsea assured victory with three more goals in a 5-1 win.

Carroll and Suarez celebrate Liverpool’s victory over rival’s Everton

Liverpool started their route to the Final with a 5-1 victory over Oldham Athletic. Liverpool were then paired with arch rivals Manchester United and came through it with a late goal from Dirk Kuyt assured the win and Liverpool progressed with a 2-1 win. Liverpool then faced a more straight forward task against Brighton which they won 6-1. The Quarter Finals was a trickier affair for Liverpool but it was one that they came through beating Stoke 2-1 at Anfield.

The semi-final renewed the rivalry between themselves and Everton. Everton went one nil up through Nikica Jelovic but a weak backpass by Sylvian Distin provided Luis Suarez the chance to equalise one in which he took well and provided levelled the sides. The winner came through Andy Carroll headed in the winner three minutes from time and guaranteed Liverpool’s spot in the final.

Match Winners; John Terry will do everything he can to help Chelsea to victory as he will miss the Champions League final after getting sent off for a very foolish foul on Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez. Fernando Torres will also be itching to score a winning goal against his former side and the sticker has found his goal scoring form just in time.

Liverpool will be hoping that their £35million striker, Andy Carroll, will score another Wembley winning goal and make himself a legend within the club, for a couple of months at least. Liverpool’s best chance will probably come from the linking play between Gerrard and Suarez, a treat that fears all the clubs they come up against.